After a few days of exploring and taking photographs it became clear that my project would be photographic in nature. This was not simply due to the daunting number of interesting scenes that I discovered, impossible to translate into paint in a limited stay. Many of the most exciting images involved layered representations of landscape, from digitally produced advertising imagery to wall painting. I also found numerous ‘landscapes in miniature’, ranging from historic rock gardens of spiritual significance to more recent assemblages of tree and stone facing imminent destruction from encroaching building sites. The passion for these hyper-gardens continues to the present where the road to the airport is lined with giant windmill-flowers, for example. The layering of these depictions of landscape amidst the architecture of the city elusively seemed to reflect traditional Chinese conceptions of landscape. Kunming had the appearance of a living painting, having associations with modernist approaches to landscape, from Cubism to Surrealism. The idea of spending my days shut in the studio painting seemed unnecessary or futile in front of astonishing combinations of landscape representation in two and three dimensions.
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